Last year when we reviewed the Peek, we ragged on it for being an e-mail-only handheld. It just did not seem worth it to us to pay $100 for the device and still have to fork out $20 a month for only e-mail. Still, we liked the design, and its simplicity and ease of use were all huge positives. We also understand the desire for a simple e-mail device for those who don't want complicated smartphones. We just wanted a little something more for the money.
Thankfully, Peek appears to have answered our concerns with the Peek Pronto. Not only are the device and subscription cheaper, but also the second version of the Peek now offers way more features. You get up to five e-mail accounts, support for Microsoft Exchange, the capability to send and receive text messages, PDF and Word document support, and search across the device. The hardware is pretty much unchanged, so don't be surprised if a lot of this review seems like deja vu. The Peek Pronto is available now for $79 for the device and $16.67 a month if you go for the quarterly plan. There is no contract required.
The Peek Pronto looks exactly like the original Peek. It is wide, thin, and flat, with a black rubberized front and a silver metal back. It measures 4.02 inches long by 2.7 inches wide by 0.42 inch thick, and is very lightweight at only 3.84 ounces. It is much lighter than a BlackBerry, though it does look a bit like a business calculator.
On its front is a 2.5-inch diagonal QVGA display just like before. It's large enough to show at least eight messages in a list. Along the top of the display are icons that show signal strength, battery life, date and time information, and a circle animation that rotates when it's processing an action. You can adjust the backlight time, the color theme, and the font size. The text is very clear and legible.
Underneath the display is one of the Peek's biggest selling points, its roomy QWERTY keyboard. The Peek Pronto's keyboard is slightly better than the one on the original--the keys are a little softer and have a nicer give when pushed. They're all raised above the surface and are made out of a cushy material, so it's really easy to type. On the right spine is a jog dial, which you can use to scroll through lists. You can also press it to select messages, and bring up a drop-down menu of functions. Next to the jog dial is a Back button. The charger jack is on the left spine.